Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace (1999) review


Most Star Wars fans really dislike this addition to the series, but I actually enjoy it a bit. The movie is quite problematic with more entertainment value than deep emotion or story, but I find it to be a good start to the prequels. The effects, score, and memories this withholds for me make it all worthwhile in the end.

PLOT:When the galactic Trade Federation cuts all trade routes to the planet Naboo, two young Jedi are sent to negotiate the disagreements out. These Jedi include the young apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). However, when the Trade Federation becomes hostile under the Sith Lord's rule and starts sending battle droids to invade the planet, the Jedi must act and save Queen Amidala (Keira Knightley), the Naboo leader. Along the way, the Jedi meet many faces, including Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best), a clumsy Gungan from Naboo; and young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), a very skilled boy from Tatooine with much hidden power in the force. With these small alliances made, the Jedi and Queen decide it's time to act and fight back against the Trade Federation, freeing them of their treaty idea and freeing them for all trade. It's a decent plot executed fairly well.

ACTING:The acting in this movie is fairly good. There are some good and bad performances. The best performances would have to be from Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson as the wise Jedis, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn. These two seemed to play the best parts as the movie's leaders. Keira Knightley, Natalie Portman, and Ray Park also played excellent roles as Queen Amidala, Padme, and Darth Maul. The return of original actors Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid, Kenny Baker, and Frank Oz for C-3PO, R2-D2, Chancellor Palpatine, and Yoda was pretty awesome as well. The voice acting was about as good as the live acting here in some cases.

SCORE:The score here is brilliantly done by the great composer, John Williams. Williams takes this Star Wars movie's score and turns it into a beautiful thing, from intense battle themes to calm and curious compositions, with "Duel of the Fates" being the key track in the movie's soundtrack. Williams seemed to really do a great job on this one.

EFFECTS:The effects in this Star Wars movie are actually really great. The visual effects of the planets from Naboo to Coruscant are very well done; I have to say the Naboo city is one of the most beautiful fictional cities I've ever seen. The effects of the aliens, also, from Jar Jar to Sebulba, and even to Boss Nass and the battle droids. Along with the score, the effects would have to be one of the best things about this movie.

OTHER CONTENT:Most fans seem to hate this addition to the Star Wars canon, but I actually like this one a good bit. The movie may have not much of an exciting plot, some apparently annoying performances, and a completely different feeling from the original trilogy, but this seems to start off an entirely new generation to the Star Wars franchise. This was the first Star Wars I ever saw, and I have to admit, it has stuck with me throughout my childhood and entire life. I just like the way George Lucas did everything; however, the lack of emotion and a tangible plot seemed to throw the movie into a bit of dismay. This Star Wars is very problematic, but it has stuck with me so long, I could hardly care.

OVERALL,a good Star Wars movie with a decent plot, fairly good performances, brilliant score, really great effects, and many childhood memories, but the plot isn't very tangible, some performances can grow annoying, and the feeling the original gave is completely lost.  

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